Chapter 10 – Vibhūthi Yoga

When you meet a person that’s highly knowledgeable about the subject you love, there’s no end to the conversations you can have with him. The more he talks, the more you want to listen from him. The same happens in this chapter. Our friend, Arjuna, having heard from the lord the infinite nature of the Lord, and how he pervades this entire existence, he asks the lord to elaborate even further about how all can we see him in shape and form, or experience his power, in this existence. The lord obliges and describes with various examples, that gives us ample ways to experience him everywhere.

While in previous chapter, the lord explained all pervasive and infinite nature of his, in this chapter he asserts that he alone is the source of such infinite. Even all the the Dévatās and Maharshis (the great sages) cannot know him fully, as they too came into being from him. Thus, one who understands that he alone is at the very source of every aspect of creation, only they can see beyond delusion created by material world, and thus be liberated.

Lord, at the origin of every thing and being

Elaborating this further, the lord states – the intelligence, knowledge, ability to discriminate, forgiveness, truthfulness, restrain on sense organs and mind, happiness, sorrow, birth and death, fear and fearlessness, non violence, equanimity, contentment, austerity, charity, success and failure – all these arise only from me. Aren’t these the qualities that drive any form of creation or destruction, in how we live? What we, as humans create or destroy, arise out of these qualitative aspects. The lord states that even these qualitative aspects, arise from him – thus, he’s at the source of EVERY form of creation or destruction. Thinking we humans did something on our own, is only a myth – a delusion. When we sincerely look at any action we performed that we’re proud of, a critical observation will reveal so many factors that were not within human control – but it was divine grace, that aided in the ultimate result. While it is OK to be happy for your efforts, to say it’s all by your efforts ALONE is being selfish.

Now the lord goes on to state even the 7 great sages (Saptha rishis), the 4 Manus are products of my mind. It is general knowledge that Lord Brahma is the divine form responsible for all of creation. The first creation by Lord Brahma were the 4 Manus, who in turn created all the living beings. Lord Brahma himself, is considered to have been a product of the lords mind. Thus, the Lord is indicating that not just the qualitative aspects described earlier that drives creativity, but even for the living, dynamic, thriving creation, he’s the origin.

The lord states – One who understands this truth and has conviction, he will stay unwavering in all situations and attain me – there’s no doubt about this.
How so? When we understand the largesse of divine grace, and comparatively minuscule role of ‘I’ (pride), we begin to acknowledge and appreciate the role of every thing and being around us, that aided each of our action. This, will allow us to accept every situation – good or bad – as his blessing alone.

Question is, how to get such a conviction?

There are two ways. One way is to rely completely on your intelligence alone, to figure all answers to such questions of existence by critical observation. Given the enormity of existence that is to be grasped, and the limited comprehending powers that we humans have, even collective research will take numerous generations to figure. Hence, an individual approach is a non-starter. Our scriptures are the product of such a collective research effort – thus one can rely on studying those, experimenting, observing the world around, to gain conviction.

Second way, is to simply trust the words of the Lord. That too, he is providing ample reasoning and logical arguments to present every point of view – not simply forcing anyone! If this is studied and practiced with sincerity, one can arrive at same conviction! This approach requires one to constantly keep the supreme being in his thoughts all the time, engaging all their senses as instruments to experience the supreme, remaining ever content talking and singing of the supreme being alone. Keep aside for a moment the rigidity of the approach mandating you to think of the god alone – what it actually does is ensure you’re implicitly engaged in a constant research about the supreme, with a positive conviction! Thus, it will naturally lead your discriminati ve intellect to shed all illusion created by your pride and see the divinity in play all around you.

Food for thought, for meditation

At this point, Arjuna being all engrossed in conversation, humbly requests the lord to tell even more; about all his glories through which the lord can be experienced in every thing. How all can I think of you, in what all different creations can I see you? I am glad Arjuna asked this – making it even more easier for us to observe the divine in every thing as well, around us.

The lord obliges to the request from his dearest, but warns that despite giving numerous examples – they still are limited as there’s no end to the divine manifestations! In a way, this is a positive assurance from the lord. It is like saying don’t think that you can experience me through these many ways ONLY – there is no way to describe what all different ways I can manifest and hold the hands of my dearest, always!

The lord then goes on to enumerate numerous aspects of existence, and states he’s the best of all such various forms of creation. That is, while the lord is in every thing and being, those that have higher quantum of such divinity are obviously of higher order. Note here, these individual being or thing, have concentration of one or few qualities, unlike the supreme being which is an assimilation of ALL qualities of highest order. And, even in one or few qualities, the presence of perfection or completeness, is indicative of the presence of divinity.

While there are numerous examples the lord gives in the chapter, in this blog the author quotes only a few. Partly because even the author is yet to comprehend the depth of it all, and partly also because it is recommended for the reader to read it from the Updésa and revel in the exhaustiveness of his representation, in person!

The lord declares that I am the athman of every being, I am the beginning, the mid and the end as well.
I am the Sāma Veda amongst vedas (for it is the essence of Rig Veda, with added beauty of melodies associated with it)
I Vasava amongst the Dévatās (Indra, known to be the king of Dévatās)
I am the MIND amongst the sense organs (the controller of all sense organs)
I am the intelligence of the living beings
I am Brihaspati amongst the learned ones (Brihaspati is the Guru for Dévatās)
I am Skanda amongst the war chiefs (the warrior prince)
I am the ocean amongst the lakes (considering the universe, ocean is considered as lake)
I am Bhrigu amongst the sages
I am amongst letters
I am japa amongst Yajnas
I am Himalaya amongst immovable things
I am Ganga amongst rivers
I am Ashwatha amongst the trees
I am Prahlada amongst the Daityas
I am Lion amongst animals, I am Garuda amongst the birds
I am the death, for all that exists
I am the Prosperity amongst the prosperous
I am fame, wealth, speech, memory, intelligence, stability and forgiveness
I am Margashira amongst months
I am season when it flowers, amongst seasons
I am Victory and excellence in action, amongst virtuous
I am the goodness in the Sātwik people
I am the seed of all beings, there is no being – living or non-living that can exist without me! The lord himself states again here that there is no end to these examples. Whatever you see around to be all powerful, all prosperous, remember it is all a manifestation of one small part of supreme being.

Like the Lord stated in the earlier part of chapter, reading about such varied manifestations, talking about it, thinking about it – will make your eyes perceive a lot more than what it physically can. This will let you experience the supreme in every being!

DISCLAIMER: This our sincere attempt to summarise the Gitōpadesha, via a series of short blogs. This is NOT the whole translation, or commentary of the divine book. We seek forgiveness of reader and the lord, for omissions which is inevitable to keep the blog short. The write-ups include both, writer’s personal opinion and summarised version of many shlokas from the Bhagavad Gita. Intent of blog was never to be a commentary of Bhagavad Gita, but simply inspire the reader to read Bhagavad Gita in it’s entirety. The writer is neither a scholar, nor a bummer, somewhere in between, with a firm belief that the lord gets him to do all the things he does. Being human, he still keeps erring. Forgive him for all such mistakes.

Sarvam Krishnarpanamasthu!